Mohawk Valley EDGE has been awarded a $300,000 grant from Environmental Protection Agency to assess and inventory brown fields across Oneida County.

According to the EPA, a brownfield is a property whose expansion, redevelopment or reuse is complicated by the presence or potential presence of harmful contaminants. In addition to cleanup of the property for expansion or redevelopment, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study found the property values surrounding those sites also see an increase in value of between 5% and 15%.

Several local officials are weighing-in on the 'welcome news', including mayors of both Utica and Rome, and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente.

MV EDGE President Steve DiMeo says some already completed local projects underscore how impactful cleaning up these sites can be for a community. “As evidenced by the successful redevelopment of the former Rome Cable site, Air City Lofts, downtown Utica, and Harbor Point, we can continue to create value, improve the business climate, and stabilize blighted residential, commercial, and industrial district.  Oneida County is rebounding from the pandemic and poised for growth.  Momentum is building, and this opportunity comes at just the right time,'' DiMeo said.

In a release from EDGE, the economic development agency notes that our area's manufacturing prowess decades ago resulted in prosperity, however, when those businesses move on or become obsolete, they leave behind disproportionately high concentrations of abandoned buildings and vacant sites.

EDGE Board Chairman Rocco Arcuri Sr. said the award of the brownfield money comes at a perfect time, “As we emerge from this global pandemic, rethinking and revitalizing our communities is more important than ever.  For years we have been working with our municipal partners to transform the regional economy.  Finally, now we will have the funding to assist with the difficult tasks of investigation and remediation planning for strategic buildings and sites plaguing our downtowns, waterfronts, and village centers.''

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